Children's wellbeing practitioner

Children and young people’s wellbeing practitioners (CWP) work to increase access to mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.

You will be trained to assess and support children and young people with common mental health difficulties. 

Your role will be to provide interventions such as guided self-help and therapeutic activities for children and young people with anxiety, low mood and behavioural difficulties. These interventions are either delivered on a one-to-one basis in person, via telephone or online, or to groups. You will play a pivotal role in signposting people to appropriate mental health services and referring more complex cases for appropriate support.

Working life

Your role will be to make sure children and young people have access to support from community services. You will offer evidence-based interventions for children and young people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties such as guided self-help, psycho-educational advice, and brief behavioural activation (a therapeutic intervention to help treat depression).

You will support effective referrals to other services by supporting care at an appropriate level, and triaging more complex cases under supervision. This role supports the Government's priority of increasing access to and availability of mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.

You will be part of a team, where your role will enable colleagues within and outside the team to: 

  • build relationships with other services to ensure that effective referrals can be made
  • communicate effectively with children, young people and their families and carers when referrals are made
  • recognise which services could provide on-going support when therapy comes to an end, for example youth groups
  • develop a shared understanding of which referrals are suitable for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • ensure care pathways are effective and informed by the needs of a child or young person

Where will I work?

Once qualified, you will work within a community mental health, CAMHS, primary care, local authority, or voluntary sector organisation. You could be based in GP practices, healthcare centres or other community venues. You will be part of a wider team providing support and interventions for children and young people and their families and/or carers.

During your training year, you will gain a range of experience within the service and work closely with a trained supervisor to support you to deliver high quality, evidence-based care and support.

Who will I work with?

You will work closely with children, young people, their parents, carers and families. You will also develop relationships across the children and young people’s mental health care system, building up a valuable and detailed understanding of related services. 

You will therefore fulfil a unique role in being able to facilitate effective triaging and signposting to other areas of the system, including voluntary services and specialist CAMHS as required.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to applicants with a range of experience of working with children and young people. 

You do not need a previous degree qualification to apply for this training programme. However, you will need to demonstrate your ability to study at degree level, and have some experience of working with children and young people to support their mental health. Those with a degree will typically undertake a postgraduate certificate while those without a degree will normally undertake an equivalent undergraduate-level qualification. For both routes, you will need to apply for a position as a trainee CWP in a children and young people's mental health service to access the training.

Entry requirements to the training course include:

  • experience of working with children and young people
  • demonstrated ability to study at undergraduate level
  • knowledge of child and adolescent development
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • motivation and commitment to undertake and complete the course

Opportunities to apply for children’s wellbeing practitioner roles are led by employing healthcare organisations, and advertised on the NHS Jobs website. Set up an alert for ‘Children's wellbeing practitioner' to find training opportunities near you.  

Skills and personal characteristics needed

Children’s wellbeing practitioners need:

  • excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with a range of people
  • the ability to build close, trusting and productive relationships with people
  • to be able work well within a multidisciplinary team
  • a good understanding of mental health issues
  • strong written and verbal communication skills, tailored to a variety of audiences
  • to be able to work independently and use initiative to think quickly on the spot in often challenging situations
  • creativity to solve problems and tackle obstacles
  • effective time management for tight deadlines and managing competing demands

Training and development

CWPs must first apply for and complete a 12-month training programme at postgraduate certificate or graduate certificate level. The programme is based on a nationally-developed curriculum, split between classroom theory and practice placements, and is open to applicants with a range of experience.

You will be paid a salary during your training year at Agenda for Change (AfC) band 4, and your university tuition costs will be paid for you. On successful completion of training, CWP posts are typically advertised at AfC band 5.

Once qualified, your employer will provide you with ongoing training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. To support your practice and your wellbeing as a practitioner, you will be provided with ongoing supervision. The CWP role is in development but future options to specialise are likely to include working in areas such as paediatrics or neurodiversity or with particular groups of children and young people (CYP); such as CYP with long-term health conditions.

If you progress to a supervisory role, you will be trained to support supervisees with their caseloads.

As a CWP, it is expected that you will work in the role for a minimum of two years before you can progress into another funded psychological professional training.

 

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